Logan's Run

Ja-Mes Logan has worked tirelessly for this chance, for this opportunity. He inches closer every day, those many hours watching and waiting behind veterans in front of him soon to pay off come kickoff of the 2011 season.

And he is only a redshirt sophomore.

But Logan has to lead, be the reliable wide receiver Ole Miss needs. Logan and junior Melvin Harris are being asked to spearhead a young group of wide receivers. Logan is arguably the most polished of the bunch.

"Some leaders got to step up, and I think me and Melvin are the guys the rest of the receivers follow," Logan said. "I think we've been doing a good job of that. It's no pressure at all; it's not hard."

Shay Hodge -- his predecessor and the player Logan fashioned his game after -- was consistency personified. Markeith Summers was supposed to take on that role last season, but was up and down, some games a terror for opposing defenses, others invisible.

Ja-Mes Logan
Associated Press
The responsibility now falls to Logan. And he feels he's ready. After a redshirt season in 2009, Logan was the team's third-leading receiver a year ago. He appeared in all 12 games, started five, and had 29 catches for 387 yards and two touchdowns.

"I feel like I'm there now, but I still got to put on a few more pounds. Other than that, I'm good to go," he said.

Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt has high expectations, high hopes, for Logan. The potential has always been there, Logan having improved his game dramatically from his days at Westfield High School in Houston, Texas.

The Rebels are well into their second week of spring practices. Logan, from the perspective of a casual observer, has been one of -- if not the leading -- receiver.

"Well, I think he can catch it better," Nutt said. "He's ahead of the game as far as … you can tell that year last year helped his confidence, because he's playing with a lot of confidence. But we expect him to be even better, and he knows that."

Logan isn't running from the expectations of his coaches. Quite the opposite, actually. His goals for the fall are to earn All-SEC and be the best receiver. "All those things that a receiver can accomplish, those are my goals," he said

For now, though, his only focus is on day-to-day improvement. Well, that and a lending a helping hand to the young wide receivers in need of some veteran guidance.

Because Logan has stepped into the shoes of Hodge in more ways than one. And he will only have to do more of the same when prized signees Donte Moncrief, Nickolas Brassell and Tobias Singleton arrive in August.

"We've been pretty good, just taking it one day at a time," he said. "(Wide receivers) Coach (Gunter) Brewer has been doing a good, good job of staying on us -- having us in early in the mornings, teaching us what we're doing wrong, what to correct.

"Vincent Sanders and Terrell Grant have been coming along. Philander Moore, he's very exciting."

All the while, Logan is keeping tabs on the ongoing quarterback race between contenders Randall Mackey, Nathan Stanley, Zack Stoudt and Barry Brunetti. Logan even named a frontrunner for the job, which was vacated following the departure of senior Jeremiah Masoli.

"Randall," he said, as in Mackey. "Randall Mackey has been that guy so far. He's been handling the pressure very well."

As has Logan.

"Basically, just be yourself, be a leader and have fun," he said.

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